The 21st Annual Women’s Studies Conference at Southern Connecticut State University was a beautiful, intellectually and spiritually uplifting experience. It was small enough to be intimate and large enough to be very diverse, and the panels I was able to attend and speakers I heard inspired me and reminded me that there are women all over the world with ku’e and fearless minds and spirits.
Mahalo nui loa to las professoras Virgina Metaxas, who instigated my participation and made sure to secure the funding for me to attend and hosted me at her home. I rode all over Connecticut with Ginny and it was kind and stimulating and yes, inspiring. I also want to mahalo Tricia Lin and Rosalyn Amenta, the co-chairs of the conference and two unbelievably inspiring women– their personal AND political stories are why they are such leaders in the women’s studies community of scholars and activists.
I am honored to have been able to screen “Noho Hewa” at this conference, and to have been on the opening plenary with an amazing Puerto Rican artists and scholar, Imna Arroyo.
Spoken Word artist, MindEvolution, is an incredibly gifted and fierce poet and artist, and it was a pleasure to see her perform.
Majora Carter was the opening keynote, and her work in the South Bronx makes me wanna visit the South Bronx the next time I’m in NYC… can’t say I’ve ever had that urge!
And last, but fabulous was the closing keynote, Dr. Chung Hyung Kyung. Some of you may recognize her from “The Tribunal.” She was a part of the people’s tribunal in 1992 here in Hawaii. What an incredibly gifted, brilliant and inspired soul and mind this woman is. Truly an honor to meet her.
Aoloani and Keanu were on a panel about Connecticut missionaries in Hawaii during the 19th century. It was taped by the Hartford Seminary Library and will be uploaded to YouTube. It was the kind of conversation that is interesting and frustrating at the same time– always hard to hear about Hawaiians converting (!) and haole missionaries judging!
Aolani talks, which she said was not what she had prepared, was mainly about Hawaiian world view, and it was beautiful. She spoke to how Hawaiians saw (and still see) their world in layers of space that begin from different points of view. For instance, she spoke to the way Hawaiians envision the horizon, and the difference between something from here (Hawaii) and something or someone from the outside. In that context, whatever missionaries or anyone else brought can be understood in a completely different way if the concept of Hawaiian cosmology and is understood, even if only on the most subtle level.
Another interesting part of the conversation was when she and Keanu spoke about Captain Cook, and how when he died it wasn’t a big celebration for Hawaiians… nor was it a big deal. As Aolani said, it was just one day. He was not a huge deal for Hawaiians, although all of the haole written history books make Cook in Hawaii a big deal.
Hosted by Professor Katherine Hermes, the screening was sponsored by the Departments of History, Psychology, and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity .
There were a few other Hawaiians present for the screening and a really good talk-story afterwards. from left they are: Jeremy (whose last name I can’t recall, but he’s in graduate school at Central), Aolani Kilihou, who teaches at Nawahi School in Hilo and is a graduate student at UH Hilo, and Keanu Sai, who was on the east coast giving talks at NYU and UMass Boston.
Professor Carol Austad and her husband, Bob, hosted a party for all of us at their lovely home.
The screening at Connecticut College was hosted by Charles Cocores at the Department of Education in the Blaustein Humanities Building. About 65 students were in attendance and the discussion was very intense. It’s differs from campus to campus, depending on the students and faculty who are present. At CC it was almost entirely an audience of students. Whereas the screening at Central was about 20% faculty, most of whom stayed for the conversation that followed.
NOHO HEWA screening in Connecticut
On April 8th, Noho Hewa will screen at Connecticut College in Bausten Humanities Center at 7PM
April 9th, screening at Central Connecticut State University in Vance Hall, 7PM.
At the Southern Connecticut State University’s 21st Annual Women’s Studies Conference, I will be a speaker on the Plenary, Friday, April 11th, 2PM. The conference title is “Ecology, Spirituality and Sustainability: Feminist and Indigenous Interventions.”
The film will screen the following day on Saturday, April 12th, 3:15PM at the Adanti Student Center Theatre.